Ubuntu developers are finalising preparations for the release of the next version -- dubbed Feisty Fawn -- of the popular Linux distribution in mid-April.
Overnight, Ubuntu developer Tollef Fog Heen announced Ubuntu's main software repository had been frozen -- with no changes allowed to the code -- as developers got ready to issue a fifth major test version ("Herd 5") of the next version of Ubuntu.
"As of today, main is frozen while preparing for Herd 5," Heen wrote in an e-mail to the Ubuntu development community. "All uploads to main must be approved by me or another member of the release team, so if you have anything urgent which is needed for Herd 5, please do get in touch ASAP."
Herd 5 of Ubuntu Feisty Fawn is scheduled to debut this Thursday. After that, the Ubuntu team will work on final beta and release candidate versions of Feisty Fawn, with the final code due on April 19th.
Ubuntu adheres to a strict six-month schedule between major new releases, with the previous version -- dubbed "Edgy Eft" -- released on October 26 last year.
When Ubuntu founder Mark Shuttleworth announced plans for Feisty Fawn back then, he said the version of Ubuntu would include improvements to hardware support in the laptop, desktop and high-end server market, and "aggressive adoption of emerging desktop technologies".
"Ubuntu's Feisty release will put the spotlight on multimedia enablement and desktop effects. We expect this to be a very gratifying release for both users and developers," he said.
However, Shuttleworth and the Ubuntu development team have already hosed down speculation that open source 3D desktop effects technologies such as Compiz and Beryl will be turned on by default in Feisty, despite their widespread use amongst the Linux enthusiast community.
In a recent blog entry, Shuttleworth wrote that it was highly likely that the next version of Ubuntu after Feisty would include Compiz or Beryl by default, a decision that would prompt Ubuntu to switch on some proprietary video drivers by default.
"I and others do believe that 3D is an essential part of the modern desktop experience," wrote Shuttleworth earlier this month. "It is difficult to buy a PC or laptop that does not include such hardware, and in terms of transistor count it's almost as much as your CPU these days."
"However, when we reviewed the status of the free software applications that depend on that hardware functionality we found that they were not ready for inclusion by default in Feisty. Neither Compiz nor Beryl have the requisite stability and compatibility to be a default option in Feisty."